A few weeks ago, I shared my fab news: I’m a Nikon MOMents Blogger! Over the next 12 months, I’ll be documenting my life (nothing new) with my Nikon D3300 camera (very new – and exciting). After taking in an informative training session last month, I felt ready to unleash my inner shutterbug.
Now if there’s one thing I learned from the Nikon D3300 training, it’s this: purchasing an expensive DSLR camera, and then proceeding to shoot in Auto, is likely one of the most costly mistakes you’ll ever make. It’s kind of like buying a car and not using the air conditioning, radio or power moonroof! Because if you don’t take the time to understand your new DSLR and its features, then you’re better off using your camera phone. Seriously, I mean that.
I’m guilty, of course. Last year, I purchased a DSLR camera and thought I was so-o cool. Sure, the quality of my pictures improved, but I was shooting still objects. And using the flash. And pretending like I knew what I was doing. That is, of course, until my son ran across the lawn, yelling “take a picture of me!” and as I held down the shutter in Auto (Flash Off) Mode… it returned a gloriously, über high quality, BLURRY photo.
But I spent hundreds of dollars on my camera! How rude!
And that’s why it’s great to have a kick-ass camera, but it’s equally important to know how to use it. After training, playing around, learning and being curious about the functions of my Nikon D3300 camera, I’m really starting to feel comfortable behind the lens. Today, I’m actually kind of giddy to show you how far I’ve come!
Now y’all probably know that my husband and I celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary two weeks ago. We trekked up to the JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort & Spa, where we spent a few wonderful days celebrating our marriage and family. Camera in tow, I dared myself to move away from Auto to my new favourite mode, Aperture.
Ah, Aperture. Where have you been all my life?
Aperture refers to the opening of a lens’s diaphragm through which light passes. It is calibrated in f/stops, where the lower f/stops give more exposure because they represent the larger apertures, and the higher f/stops give less exposure because they represent smaller apertures. I *could* go into detail, but honestly, that’s what Google is for. All you have to know is this: Aperture mode gives you MUCH more control over the brightness, creative blur and sharpness of your photos.
The following photos highlight our stay, and show off several modes of the Nikon D3300.
Although I tried to avoid the Auto Scene Mode as much as possible, sometimes, it’s simply a viable option. The clarity and focus of the Nikon D3300 is incredibly stunning in plain ol’ Auto, as witnessed in the photo below. You may notice the seagull in the top left portion; it is literally frozen in mid-air. Not bad for Auto, eh?
The old Lena would have probably stepped on tip toes to get a shot of the lake over the thick iron fence. The new Lena shoots through the iron fence, using creative blur to her advantage to stage the photo. And that is the last you’ll hear of me talking in the third person, promise. Photo taken in Aperture Exposure Mode.
One of the highlights of our stay was the Pontoon Boat Cruise with Muskoka Sports and Recreation. Once on the lake, I put Nikon’s 18-55mm lens to the test, zooming in across the vast lake to snap the photo below, taken in the Landscape Scene Mode. Even after zooming in as closely as possible, there is not a hint of graininess in the photo. Truthfully speaking, I don’t think I could say the same for my other DSLR. Colour me impressed.
(Let us all pause for a moment to marvel at the perfectly calm lake. A dream.)
Before learning the ins and outs of the Nikon D3300, I admit I would have tried to take a photograph from the moving boat in Auto (Flash Off) Mode. Because, of course, that was one of only two modes that I was comfortable using. So you know what? I took a photo of the water in Auto (Flash Off) Mode. And it’s downright scary.
However, I do know better. So I adjusted my dial to Sports Scene Mode, and retook the picture. The mode is built on the principles of sports photography: continuous focusing, large apertures and fast shutter speeds. Quite the difference, no?
And as the sun streamed through the clouds, I caught my little guy, mesmerized by the waves. Although I took the photograph in Child Scene Mode, Reid was so serene, almost any mode would have captured his innocence.
Later that evening, we dined at the hotel’s Italian restaurant, where I ordered the seafood pasta. The restaurant was very dimly lit, and I worried that my pictures would simply not turn out. Quite the predicament when you’re reviewing the establishment! And really, flash photography is simply a no-no when dining at night, so I was in quite the pickle. Normally, I simply would have shot in Auto (Flash Off) Mode and hoped for the best –
But now, it’s like the heavens parted and the angels descended on earth, declaring one word: Aperture.
When opening up the light through the lens, you can almost trick the camera into thinking you’re shooting in daylight. Remember, the above photo was taken at 8:30pm in a very dimly lit restaurant! Nikon D3300, how I love thee!
I hope I’ve demonstrated the importance of learning to use your DSLR. I promise this will be one of the more technical posts as part of my collaboration with Nikon MOMents – from here on in, we can simply enjoy the photography! To begin, how about a super cute kid licking an ice cream cone?
I am part of the Nikon MOMents program with Mom Central Canada, and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.